It began many summers ago on Nantucket Island, where I found myself year-round from the time I was 23, enjoying a carefree single life, hungrily reading on the beach, and literally trying to fight it out of my best friend’s hands.
Fast forward to a more recent time: I’m 13 years older, a failed-but-now- resurrected business owner & single mother with two small children in tow.
I’m back in my hometown of Syracuse. It's not glamorous but nonetheless it's all true.
I've had a fair collection of "constants" in my life: my mom, my children, my breathing. Among these steadfast touchstones has always been my beloved Us Weekly. Its cover is colorful and eye-catching, and even the side stories draw me in, from Khloe Kardashian to Britney Spears. I love looking at it.
Looking. In all honestly I barely read it. I mostly just look. I look at the outfits, the big pictures, the moms, the kids, the hottest shades of lip-gloss and style of shoe. But my favorite, favorite???? Fashion Police. I cannot wait to get to the last few pages of the magazine. There, we find a full-on line-up of celebrities looking like absolute shit.
It is a glorious feast for the female eye. I laugh. I judge. I wonder. "What the FUCK was she thinking?! Who is her stylist?! She must be drunk!" It feels good to seem 'greater than'. Obviously, I have no relationship with these people: I have no real understanding of who they are as a human being. In that way, I am dis-attached to them, but I feel validated in my judgment of them. I mean after all, there is a whole hired panel of D-list celebrities also adding their digs at the bottom of each picture!!
Yeah!!!! Take THAT Niki Minaj! Your pants are lame!! You're an idiot!!
It's totally cushioned and safe. Honestly?! Is Britney gonna hear me? Nope!!! Also? It's not only socially acceptable to administer this type of public flogging, it's encouraged. And I partake.
Jennifer Aniston is 42 and looks stunning. Can I do that??? Charlize Theron is so put together. Why aren't I? Reese Witherspoon seems to have things on lock. Sandra Bullock and Katie Holmes are single moms like me. Maybe I'm not drinking enough water???
I can barely make it to my daughter’s ballet practice, let alone shower. How do they do it? Which leads me to think...how did this happen? When did we begin to lean towards this? I think it's human nature to compare and judge. I think it's part of our genetic make up.
But we as women? We take it to a level that is questionable. We compare. And we either judge it or we covet it. And we have trained ourselves to believe that either someone is under us or better than us based on what they look like based on the life we 'think' they have.
A lot if the time, especially when slightly dis-attached, 99.8% (it’s scientific fact, people) of this is based on aesthetics or what is on paper, not character.
I think it comes down to two factors: intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation.
Read that again and get out your high-lighters for that one. It's notable.
I didn't know what these two phrases meant until just a few months ago when our friend Dr. Deb Pollack came to work with our trainers. She sat with us for over four hours on a Saturday and talked to us about human psychology.
Of all the pieces of our training for Method 360, this part with Deb was absolutely the most valuable. Basically she said there are two main ways we motivate ourselves to change.
The first is extrinsic, and she listed examples of what this was:
Extrinsic motivation or drive is based on a finite goal or an external factor. In fitness this would be “I want to lose 20lbs for my high school reunion”, or “I'm trying to look better for my husband”, or “I want to look the best at the neighborhood party”.
Notice how familiar these kinds of goals sound. We hear them in commercials, in every magazine, even while picking up our kids at school.
The other is intrinsic motivation; this is a bit different. In terms of fitness, you are motivated by the fact that this stuff makes you feel better. You are motivated by being part of a fun community or because it makes you stronger. It just plain makes you feel good. There are no defined goals necessarily, but there is definitely a positive energy that comes with this, unlike that of extrinsic, which feels yucky.
So basically, when we compare, contrast, and try to keep up with someone else, we are motivated extrinsically; also, we're not doing it for ourselves. We're doing it to keep up with or be better 'them'.
I never knew what these things meant until Deb outlined them, and when she noted these two motivators, she also pointed out that when sports psychology research was done, athletes had better performance when they were intrinsically motivated.
For example, an athlete’s performance was notably better when she trained because she felt empowered, rather than if she trained under pressure of a domineering coach or for monetary benefits.
I was stunned because although I never knew why, I had always noticed that clients who talked to themselves more kindly, trusted the process, didn't own scales, and worked out because it made them feel good had much better results than clients who beat themselves up, compared themselves to others, and had a finite weight goal to reach.
So this stuff, the way you motivate yourself? It actually matters. It determines the results you will get. And I have absolutely no way to quantity it. At same time, as I promote it...I still grapple with it. I know it works, but I still need to practically apply this thinking into my daily mantras.
Be your truest self.
Surround yourself with like-minded people.
You live in a beautiful, perfect body.
Enjoy every bit of what that body can do.
Lose the people that you have to keep up with.
Love the ones that love you for you.
Because you are the bomb.